Fife honour for Taliban victim

Malala Yousafzai heading to New York to speak to the UN
Malala Yousafzai heading to New York to speak to the UN

A teenager shot by the Taliban is to visit Fife to open a school and inaugurate its library that will be named in her honour.

Malala Yousafzai, was shot in the head and neck as a 15-year-old schoolgirl in October 2012 in an assassination attempt by gunmen while she returned home on a school bus in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.

Now 16, she will perform the topping-out ceremony at the new Burntisland Primary School on Saturday, October 19.

Malala has been invited to the Kingdom by local MP Gordon Brown, who has rallied support for her cause of universal girls’ education – including global petitions of over four million people – and by Alex Rowley, Fife Council leader, who said that “Fife will welcome Malala with open arms”.

She was thrust into the international spotlight in 2012 with many people around the world shocked that a child was so brutally targeted because of her education and women’s rights activism.

Despite only being 15 at the time, Malala had already written a blog for the BBC telling of life as a young girl under Taliban rule, and featured in a New York Times documentary.

Malala was flown to the United Kingdom for treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Mr Brown added: “I have invited Malala to speak to people in Scotland because of our country’s historic commitment to international development and our support for the poorest in Asia and 

“Malala’s speech at the United Nations earlier this year was so personal but also so inspirational. I want people in Fife to meet her at first hand.”

As well as addressing the United Nations in an historic speech in July, Malala has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

She is in Scotland to help launch the Global Citizenship Commission at Edinburgh University, an initiative chaired by Mr Brown in conjunction with New York University and the Carnegie UK Trust, which aims to reassess the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.